Billy Idol, that hyper-cool rocker from the 1980s, said it best when he sang “There’s nothing to lose and nothing to prove” in his hit “Dancing with Myself”. While his love-lorn song about dancing solo may have been a hit with fans for its rhythmic beat (and let’s be real, Idol was just so cool back then), the lyrics tell the story of a traveler (a rock star, perhaps) that’s missing that one girl but makes the best of being alone.
While I can’t imagine that the life of a rock star is one of loneliness, I can say that of the writer is in many respects. It’s a solo act for sure. Hours spent pounding away on a keyboard, thinking through plot lines, or simply reading and re-reading drafts are not activities that lend themselves to group engagement. Sure, writing groups exist that remedy the isolation, but I find such groups feel like swimming in very choppy water where I get tossed from side to side by the waves of varying opinions that often conflict with one another. It’s like purposefully tossing myself into a giant blender and trying to avoid getting dizzy. I’d rather not.
Instead, I spend all of my writing time holed away in my office. By now, I’ve amassed thousands of pages of writing on this blog, in my Scrivener program, or in various documents. Much of it unseen or untouched by anyone but myself. I have seven novels that made it to the first draft. I have several incomplete novels that linger in a purgatory of sorts. I feel like a hoarder watching over my room full of books and stories that are piled up to the ceiling, some fanned open and others stacked in haphazard columns that threaten to topple over. On second thought, let’s chuck the hoarder imagery; that gives me the creeps.
I’m sure the next time I sit down in my chair to start writing I’ll hear Idol belting out the chorus to this song, or maybe, just maybe, I’ll pull up the song on my phone and have a listen. You just never know what will inspire you to write.